By Wallace Mawire
Lithium exploration projects are taking off in Zimbabwe following
recent pronouncements by the new government that the country is now
open for business and is courting investors for its vast mineral
Winston Chitando, Zimbabwe’s minister of Mines and Mining
Development recently told delegates, corporate and foreign investors
and other stakeholders at the Zimbabwe mining investments conference
in Harare that the country was poised to be one of the major
producers of lithium in the world.
“We are hoping that in the next four years, Zimbabwe will be
supplying at least 10% of lithium of the global needs,” Chitando said.
Chitando said that the new dispensation in Zimbabwe is emphasising
the need for policy clarity and consistency and partnership with
investors to bring in much needed investment which has been lacking in
the country for too long.
Some of the projects which are now under exploration in Zimbabwe
include the Zulu lithium and tantalum project which is located 80km
east of Bulawayo and is being undertaken by Premier African Minerals.
The project is targeting a maiden mineral resource estimate of 20,1
metric tonnes of lithium and 51 ppm tantalum.
According to George Roach, Chairman and CEO of Premier African
Minerals at the recent mining investors conference in Harare, the
project has an exploration target of 60 to 80 million tonnes of
lithium in the main zone and on-going drill intersections in the new
zone indicating the potential to add substantial new tonnes to the
Roach also added that an infill drilling programme is currently
underway to expand and increase the current resource base.
He added that the Zulu deposit is among Zimbabwe’s largest
lithium-tantalum projects with inferred resources of 20,1 metric
tonnes and 51 ppm containing 526, 000 tonnes of lithium carbonate and
1,025 tonnes of tantalum pentoxide.
Roach says that Zimbabwe is the world’s fifth largest producer of
lithium mineral concentrate.
Lithium raw materials are a vital ingredient for lithium battery
technology. Also hardrock lithium minerals have a variety of
applications with traditional uses including ceramics, glass and
According to Roach, Premier African Minerals has explored, developed
and built a mid-size tungsten mine in Zimbabwe.
Another separate project is the one being developed by Prospect
Resources. According to Duncan Harry Greaves, Executive Director of
the company in a presentation at the same conference, the Arcadia
Lithium project represents Prospect’s flagship project and is the
largest code compliant hard rock lithium deposit in Africa.
Greaves said that the project was awarded national project status by
the government of Zimbabwe. He also added that Prospect Resources is
negotiating with potential investors to raise $55 million for the
first phase of the project.